November 21st, 2004  

Topic: Iran

Iran is preparing large amounts of uranium for enrichment, a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons, days before its promise to freeze all such activities takes effect, Western diplomats say.

"The Iranians are producing UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) like hell," a non-U.S. diplomat on the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told Reuters on Friday. "The machines are running."

Iran denied the information, which was confirmed by multiple diplomatic sources in Vienna.

"This is a sheer lie. I strongly reject it. In contrary, Iran is preparing itself to suspend production of UF6," Iran's top IAEA delegate Hossein Mousavian told Reuters in Tehran.

The apparent hasty production of large amounts of enriched uranium is bound to deepen suspicions over Iran, which Washington says is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

UF6 is the form of uranium that is fed into gas centrifuges, which purify uranium for use as fuel in nuclear power plants or weapons, by spinning at supersonic speeds.

Iran had promised the European Union after talks with Britain, France and Germany that it would freeze enrichment and all related activities as of Nov 22.

"The Iranians have produced some UF6 gas," said a Western diplomat close to the IAEA. "The EU three are apparently not too fazed by this."

IAEA chief Mohamed Elbaradei said on Monday in a report on his two-year investigation of Iran's nuclear programme that Tehran had not diverted any of its declared nuclear materials to a weapons programme.

But he did not rule out the possibility that other secret atomic activities existed.

Another diplomat described it as shocking news and said the IAEA's 35-member board of governors would have to seriously consider whether to report Tehran to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

"It is a grave matter that will have serious repercussions when we begin our (IAEA board) meeting on Thursday," a diplomat from another board state said.

Iran announced in September that it would process 37 tonnes of raw "yellowcake" uranium at its uranium conversion plant at Isfahan. Iran began processing several tonnes of yellowcake, but only produced uranium tetrafluoride (UF4), a precursor to UF6.

"It was only very recently they began making UF6," said one diplomat.

The 37 tonnes of yellowcake could produce sufficient UF6 for up to five weapons, if enriched to a point where it was of weapons-grade purity, experts say.

On Sunday, Tehran promised France, Britain and Germany it would freeze its enrichment programme in a bid to ease concerns that its nuclear plans are aimed at producing atomic weapons -- a charge it denies -- and to escape a referral to the U.N. Security Council when the IAEA meets on November 25.

Diplomats said they had expected Iran to freeze the programme as of last Sunday, the day the deal was reached. But technically Iran had the right to continue conversion work until Monday, diplomats said.

A Bush administration official said the allegations added to concerns about Iran's nuclear intentions.

"The reports today further illustrate why we are concerned about Iran complying with its commitments," said a senior U.S. official.

Britain said the main focus was that the IAEA verifies Iran is implementing the agreement by suspending enrichment.

"The key to this agreement is the implementation and part of that is the Iranian pledge allowing the IAEA to verify that they have implemented the suspension," a British Foreign Office spokesman said.

Iran's U.N. ambassador was not available for comment.

Iran's Foreign Ministry on Friday also rejected claims by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that Tehran had been working on ways to deliver an atomic warhead on a missile.
November 21st, 2004  
They have been working on an missile system wich they could use to deliever Nuclear weapons with. I think most likly they will have a Nuclear Weapon before the end of 2005. This date may be wrong and they may have one before the end of 2004.

However Israel has stopped one Nuclear Program so israel may attack them and destroy thier nuclear dreams. They did it in Iraq.
November 21st, 2004  
If you haven't already read:
November 21st, 2004  
Duty Honor Country
there is already a thread on Iran and Nukes